Whether you work for a global corporation, a small business, or for yourself, it is absolutely essential that you THINK and ACT like an “owner” – “own” your job, own your role as a leader or manager, own your roles and responsibilities — put yourself in the shoes of a business owner, and think and behave as any owner would do. This is not new advice; many of us have heard this before, and many of us have probably given this advice to others. But what does it actually MEAN to “think and act like a business owner?” Standing in the shoes of a business owner is a mind-set shift and in my opinion includes fully embracing the following as part of HOW you DO your job and how you THINK about your job:
• Show Passion and Enthusiasm. Both your head and your heart need to be “in the game.” Your clients and customers need to see and “feel” your enthusiasm for what you do. Your colleagues, team mates and direct reports need to sense your passion for what you do. Passion and enthusiasm are the fuel for the energy that flows into your job. Others are drawn to you and inspired by you in direct correlation to level of sincere passion and enthusiasm you exhibit. Think about it, can any business survive, long-term, if the owner is NOT truly passionate and enthusiastic about what he or she does?
• Treat Your Customers and Clients Like Gold. Customers are the lifeblood of ANY business. Your customers make be external individuals or businesses or your “customers” may be those at your company that you serve with respect to what you do. Customer satisfaction and enthusiasm will drive the success of your job and your business. Treat your customers like gold; create “raving fans” — make customer and client enthusiasm a number one priority.
• Take Care of Your People. As a business owner, your number one asset is your people — your colleagues and team members. Lead them, serve them, inspire them, appreciate them, recognize them, develop them...show them — every day — that you care for them. Surround yourself with exceptional talent and nurture and develop that talent as best as you can. Get to know your work associates on a personal level; understand their personal and their professional goals. Embrace your team and treat them like your family...YOUR success depends on THEM.
• Deliver More Than Expected. A key to building trust and building a positive and memorable reputation is to deliver more than expected. Under-promise and over deliver. Go the extra mile, take the extra step, drop the 13th donut into the box. You’ve got to give first and give more to get more. Make this your personal mantra.
• “Roll Up Your Sleeves” Whenever Necessary. A business owner is always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Delegate when possible and avoid “stepping on the toes” of your colleagues, but when something needs to get done, and there’s no one to do it — no task is too small for the business owner. Just get it done, and do it with a smile. Lead by example when it comes to being resourceful and getting things done in a timely manner. Coffee need making? Do it. Photocopies need to be made right now? Do it.
• Get Better and Better — Continuously Improve. A growing, thriving business MUST continue to improve and get better — upping the ante, staying ahead of the competition, proactively responding to an evolving market, improving processes, reducing costs and improving performance. YOU, as an employee, must maintain the same mindset. Read, learn new things, set self-improvement and professional development goals. Being the best you can be requires getting better and constantly looking for ways to improve yourself.
• “Systematize” Things. Running a business involves replicating a variety of tasks and processes; the same holds true for your job. Great business owners look for ways to add structure, consistency and quality to what they do by developing standard WAYS of doing things. Stay alert for developing tools to help you work “ON” the job you do — separate from the things you do to work “IN” your job. Working “ON” your job means looking for ways to standardize and systematize the things you do — developing processes, flowcharts, checklists, reference material, etc. Systems and structure improve your productivity and the quality of the work you do. THINK systems and processes.
• Stay Focused on Cash Flow and Spend Like It’s YOUR Money. Cost-consciousness and “bottom line” focus are always on the mind of a business owner. Put yourself into the shoes of a business owner and look for ways to do things cheaper without compromising quality. Look for new revenue opportunities. Carefully evaluate capital expenditures; compare prices; look for “deals.” Maintain a bottom line focus in the conduct of your work.
• Think Ahead; See the “Big Picture.” Great business owners stay one, two, three or more moves ahead of their best competitors. Owners anticipate and think about the bigger picture. Move outside your “box” and think about the interrelationship between what you do and everything else in your organization. Step forward and then look back to see how to get there. Know your own personal vision and mission and orchestrate your activities consistent with both.